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The Drawing of the Three
Cover of The Drawing of the Three
The Drawing of the Three
The Dark Tower Series, Book 2
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Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978, the publication of Stephen King's epic work of fantasy — what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus — has spanned a quarter of a century.

Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978, the publication of Stephen King's epic work of fantasy — what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus — has spanned a quarter of a century.

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  • From the cover CHAPTER 1

    The Door

    1

    Three. This is the number of your fate.

    Three?

    Yes, three is mystic. Three stands at the heart of the mantra.

    Which three?

    The first is dark-haired. He stands on the brink of robbery and murder. A demon has infested him. The name of the demon is HEROIN.

    Which demon is that? I know it not, even from nursery stories.

    He tried to speak but his voice was gone, the voice of the oracle, Star-Slut, Whore of the Winds, both were gone; he saw a card fluttering down from nowhere to nowhere, turning and turning in the lazy dark. On it a baboon grinned from over the shoulder of a young man with dark hair; its disturbingly human fingers were buried so deeply in the young man's neck that their tips had disappeared in flesh. Looking more closely, the gunslinger saw the baboon held a whip in one of those clutching, strangling hands. The face of the ridden man seemed to writhe in wordless terror.

    The Prisoner, the man in black (who had once been a man the gunslinger trusted, a man named Walter) whispered chummily. A trifle upsetting, isn't he? A trifle upsetting ... a trifle upsetting ... a trifle-

    2

    The gunslinger snapped awake, waving at something with his mutilated hand, sure that in a moment one of the monstrous shelled things from the Western Sea would drop on him, desperately enquiring in its foreign tongue as it pulled his face off his skull.

    Instead a sea-bird, attracted by the glister of the morning sun on the buttons of his shirt, wheeled away with a frightened squawk.

    Roland sat up.

    His hand throbbed wretchedly, endlessly. His right foot did the same. Both fingers and toe continued to insist they were there. The bottom half of his shirt was gone; what was left resembled a ragged vest. He had used one piece to bind his hand, the other to bind his foot.

    Go away, he told the absent parts of his body. You are ghosts now. Go away.

    It helped a little. Not much, but a little. They were ghosts, all right, but lively ghosts.

    The gunslinger ate jerky. His mouth wanted it little, his stomach less, but he insisted. When it was inside him, he felt a little stronger. There was not much left, though; he was nearly up against it.

    Yet things needed to be done.

    He rose unsteadily to his feet and looked about. Birds swooped and dived, but the world seemed to belong to only him and them. The monstrosities were gone. Perhaps they were nocturnal; perhaps tidal. At the moment it seemed to make no difference.

    The sea was enormous, meeting the horizon at a misty blue point that was impossible to determine. For a long moment the gunslinger forgot his agony in its contemplation. He had never seen such a body of water. Had heard of it in children's stories, of course, had even been assured by his teachers-some, at least-that it existed-but to actually see it, this immensity, this amazement of water after years of arid land, was difficult to accept ... difficult to even see.

    He looked at it for a long time, enrapt, making himself see it, temporarily forgetting his pain in wonder.

    But it was morning, and there were still things to be done.

    He felt for the jawbone in his back pocket, careful to lead with the palm of his right hand, not wanting the stubs of his fingers to encounter it if it was still there, changing that hand's ceaseless sobbing to screams.

    It was.

    All right.

    Next.

    He clumsily unbuckled his gunbelts and laid them on a sunny rock. He removed the guns, swung the chambers out, and removed the useless shells. He threw them away. A bird settled on the bright...
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 27, 1989
    Elaborating at great length on Robert Browning's cryptic narrative poem ``Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,'' the second volume of King's post-Armageddon epic fantasy presents the equally enigmatic quest of Roland, the world's last gunslinger, who moves through an apocalyptic wasteland toward the Dark Tower, ``the linchpin that holds all of existence together.'' Although these minor but revealing books (which King began while still in college) are full of such adolescent portentousness, this is livelier than the first. Roland enters three lives in the alternate world of New York City: junkie and drug runner Eddie Dean, schizophrenic heiress Odetta Holmes and serial murder Jack Mort. If King tells us too little about Roland, he gives us too much about these misfits who are variously healed or punished exactly as expected. Typically, King is much better at the minutiae and sensations of a specific physical world, and several such bravura sequences (from an attack by mutant lobsters to a gun store robbery) are standouts amid the characteristic headlong storytelling. BOMC alternate.

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The Drawing of the Three
The Dark Tower Series, Book 2
Stephen King
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